Easiest Ironman Course – UPDATED 2020
Starting with a 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k of running, Ironman is never going to be an easy experience, so what is the easiest Ironman course?
Before we dig into the details, some courses are more suited to first-timers than others. Some courses follow a gently rolling bike course and a flat marathon run. Others tend to be the opposite, and Lanzarote is a prime example. Hot weather, windy conditions, and a savage bike course make Lanzarote one of the hardest courses of all time.
So while some may be graded as easy, it all comes down to how you adjust to the heat and how hard the swim, bike, and run courses are for your fitness. So for most, the easiest course will depend on how well it suits your physiology.
Best Ironman Courses For First Timers
If your looking at signing up for your first event, we have put together the top 3 best Ironman courses for first timers in Europe. This doesn’t just rely on the course profile but also the overall experience of the event (or Challenge event) gives to the first-timer.
Best Ironman For Beginners Europe
Challenge Roth (Germany)
Not branded as an Ironman but still makes the list for the beginner friendliness. Challenge Roth brings large crowds to a usually packed course.
A one-lap swim in the calm Main-Donau Kanal, it gives the first-timer a comfortable and calm swim. The bike while not pan flat offers fast rolling hills through northern Bavaria and then finishes off with a flat riverside marathon run.
Challenge Roth is known to be a fast course, with numerous best times being set along the way. The course offers a relatively fast final result but be sure to check out the bike course before you sign up.
Ironman Tallinn (Estonia)
Know as a super-fast course, Ironman Tallinn takes you through one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. The swimming takes place in the Lake of Harku and offers a two-lap course that also features an Australian exit ( short 5-10m run between each lap).
The bike offers a rolling course of two laps around southern cities and finishes at Seaplane Harbour. A total elevation of around 660m makes it easier enough for the first-timer.
The run course is semi-flat with a total elevation of 460 m taking you along the Seaplane Harbor. While it’s relatively fast course be careful if the wind picks up.
It’s not the most popular in Europe and is only a few years old, for the first-timer the small fields will make for a less stressful day.
Ironman Hamburg (Germany)
Known as Germany’s triathlon capital, Hamburg is one of Europe’s greenest cities. The swim goes through the Binnen and Außenalster lakes which offer a single 3.8km loop. The swim is known to be fast and relatively calm, offering the newbie a great experience in their first Ironman.
The two-lap bike course is fast and flat and the first-timers dream course. It leads the athletes out towards the idyllic Vier- und Marschlande region and provides plenty of support from the crowd along the way.
Finishing off with a four-lap run. The run course was designed to be flat and fast. The run course also passes the finish line at Rathausmarkt giving you that little bit more motivation.
Overall Hamburg is one of the best courses for first-timers giving you a calm swim and fast bike and run course.
What is the toughest Ironman?
First, before we say what the toughest Ironman is, every race can be tough for one or more reasons. While the course and conditions play a large part in making the day hard, each person’s experience may vary. But one of the longest-standing races in Europe, Lanzarote sits up there being one of the toughest swim/bike/run events around. Recently voted as being the toughest Ironman in the world it just shows hard the course actually is.
The race takes place at Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen, and is notorious for the strong winds. The swim heads out for two laps of the ocean and can be somewhat rough at times. While the bike tackles a whopping 2,500m of climbing and with the strong winds, for most it will become a day of survival. Although the run course is relatively flat along the seafront of Puerto del Carmen, the fatigue from the bike and the heat plays are role in making the final run extremely tough for most.
If you are looking for a challenge and a course that will test your bike legs and mental strength on the run, Lanzarote is perfect for that.
Easiest 70.3 Ironman
Ironman 70.3 turkey has produced some of the fastest times over the 70.3 distance, making it technically the easiest half on the calendar. While there are other events where professionals have gone quicker and probably age groupers too, the overall time by all participants is faster in Turkey than anywhere else. But like we discussed with the full distance events, just because its fast doesn’t mean it is the right course for you.
Below you can see a graph based on overall times across nearly all 70.3 races.
While Turkey 70.3 is known to be the fastest, there are multiple American 70.3 races that are classed as somewhat easy. Atlantic City is one that stands out for having a fast bike and flat run. Atlantic City 70.3 holds the top spot for the fastest 70.3 in America across all participants. So next time you looking to set a new personal best head there.
Although just because Turkey is known to be a fast course, don’t take this for granted. Knowing your weakness’s and what type of climate and course suits you will depend on what makes it the easiest 70.3 Ironman for you.
Easiest Ironman Swim Course
If you are looking for the easiest Ironman swim course, there are plenty on the list. Many variables such as current, conditions, and amount of participants can affect how hard an ironman swim is.
One of the easiest swim courses is IM Louisville. Although times don’t necessarily dictate a “faster” swim time as it depends greatly on the current. The swim course is located in the Ohio river which takes participants against the current for about 1000-1500 meters. then they turn around and head downstream (with the current) for the remainder of the swim.
The speed of an IM swim depends on the weather conditions, the fastest and easiest times set in the swim leg are usually seen when they are located in a lake or ocean. This is because there is not so much of a current but the higher winds that cause larger waves can also affect a person’s performance.
So ideally if you are looking for the easiest Ironman swim course, look at the conditions and where the swim is located.
Best Half Ironman Europe
If you are looking for the fastest 70.3 or best half ironman in Europe look no further than Brazil or Austria. Both are well known for their fast 70.3 courses. While Brazil’s half ironman times are maybe too fast for the distance, Austria’s on the other hand 70.3 stands up to scrutiny.
The clear Water 70.3 World championship has had one of the fastest times, but that is common with most World Championships as the class of athletes attending make for some fast racing.